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Urge South Sound 911 board to address dispatcher staffing crisis

The following is from Teamsters Local 117:

TACOMA (June 23, 2023) — Teamsters who work at the South Sound 911 call center in Tacoma are facing a serious staffing crisis that is putting the public at risk. These dispatchers are first responders who support our police, firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs by providing them with vital information about emergencies in our communities.

Due to chronic understaffing, dispatchers at South Sound 911 are frequently working 70-80 hours per week. In a job that requires their full attention, they regularly work through their rest and meal breaks, and handle multiple channels on minimal sleep.

TAKE A STAND — If you live or work in Pierce County, please send a message to the board of South Sound 911 expressing your concern over chronic understaffing of the dispatcher position and the threat it poses to public safety. Urge them to take immediate steps to rectify this staffing crisis.

In an emergency, seconds count. South Sound 911 must take immediate steps to rectify the staffing crisis. The safety of our police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs and the public at large depends on it.

South Sound 911 was created after voters approved a 2011 initiative raising public safety funding and consolidating the 911 call centers of Pierce County, West Pierce Fire & Rescue, and the cities of Tacoma, Lakewood, Fife and Puyallup. It is a Public Development Authority governed by an 11-member Board of Directors with representatives from each of those jurisdictions.

Residents and workers in Pierce County are urged to send a message on this important issue to the South Sound 911 board today.

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